|Beautiful colors and amazing flavor make this my "go-to" summer dish!|
I feel as though the weather is a frequent topic of mine lately which is spurred on by all the rain. In an effort to make sure all the fruit and veggies didn't go back into hibernation with the chilly weather I recently stopped by the local farmer's market for a quick walk-through.
A few things caught my eye; namely the zucchini, peas and strawberries. The zucchini was a nice addition to a dinner of wild king salmon and the strawberries ended up as freezer jam (my favorite!) The peas are destined for a much-adored salad I rarely see on restaurant menus or summer picnics anywhere these days.
While not exactly fat free, Summer Pea Salad is both delicious AND beautiful in presentation. Add a bit of diced red pepper or tomato for some additional color and then stand back as your dish disappears before your eyes!
Summer Pea Salad
16 oz of peas (frozen or fresh*)
1 can sliced waterchestnuts (8 oz) - drained and finely chopped
2 green onions - thinly sliced
1/4 cup diced red pepper or tomato
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
5 bacon slices - cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
*make sure to shell the peas before adding to salad!
Mix peas, waterchestnuts, onions, diced red pepper, cheese and bacon in a bowl. Add the ranch dressing, pepper and mix together. Chill until served.
Enjoy and happy summer!
I stash a few of each flavor in the freezer to enjoy a bit of summer when it's chilly and wet outside. You can find recipes for all types of fruit on the Sure Jell website.
Easy freezer jam (raspberry)
- 3 cups crushed berries
- 5 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 box Sure Jell pectin
Wash and rinse berries then crush about half (some lumpy fruit is ok.) Measure exact amount of sugar and add to the berries. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes.
Stir one box of pectin into 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil one minute, remove from heat.
Stir pectin mixture into the fruit until the sugar dissolves completely. About 3 minutes.
Pour the fruit mixture into clean containers. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hour to set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Freeze up to one year and thaw in the refrigerator.
There's just something about the bounty of summer fruit and my need to make pies. Topped with a little ice cream you have the perfect dessert or breakfast depending upon the time of day.
This year I started my "pie season" with blueberries because they seem to be abundant at the local farmer's markets or my neighborhood store. Plus, they are really easy to work with; no peeling or chopping. I simply wash and drain, then smash a few to ensure there is adequate juice in the final product (it's a personal preference).
The following recipe is from the Joy of Cooking: All About Pies and Tarts. What I like best about this recipe is the simplicity which allows the fruit to be the star of the show. I must say the one variation is that depending on the tartness of the fruit - and your palate - it's best to taste, taste, taste once all the ingredients are mixed together. If the flavor seems too sweet and you want a bit of "sparkle" simply add a smidge more lemon juice.
Blueberry (or any fruit) pie
• Pie crust
• 5 cups fruit (sliced or peeled if necessary)
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca or cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon strained fresh lemon juice
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Mix the fruit, sugar, thickener, lemon juice and salt and let stand for 15 minutes before pouring into the crust. This is where I taste the filling and make adjustments if needed. Dot the butter over the filling. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with cold water, then cover with the top crust or lattice. Seal the edge, trim and crimp or flute. Cut steam vents in the top crust.
Bake the pie in the lower third of a 425 degree oven for 30 minute; then slip a baking sheet beneath it, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake the pie until thick juices bubble through the vents, about 30 minutes more.
If you like peach pie, here's another great recipe. On Funfeasts, of course!
Looking for a cheese without rennet? Try using cardoons as your cheese enzyme. Also called the artichoke thistle, cardoons have invisible spines that can be painful if they come in contact with the skin. My contact with cardoons came in the form of a delicious gratin while dining at a local restaurant. Thank goodness someone else braved the harvest and prepped the cardoons for me!
If you want to make your own cheese, you can pick up a kit at the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.
Ricki’s Whole Milk Ricotta
1 gallon milk
1 teaspoon citric acid
1 teaspoon cheese salt
1. Pour the milk into a non-reactive pot (not aluminum, not cast iron). Add citric acid (and salt, optional). Stir.
2. Heat the mild to 195 degrees. Stir often to avoid scorching.
3. When the curds and whey separate turn off the heat and let set for 5 minutes.
4. Line a colander with muslin or cheesecloth. Ladle the curds gently into the cloth.
5. Tie the cloth into a bag and hang to drain for ½ hour or more depending on the desired consistency.
6. After draining to the consistency you prefer, the cheese is ready to eat. It will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator or it may be frozen.
Recipe courtesy of the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company
Homemade organic ricotta - what a treat and so easy to make!
Here's a cardoon looking similar to an artichoke. Beware the spikes!
Cardoon in bloom almost seems to pretty to eat!
For a little festive flair add stiffly whipped cream and fruit (in this case, sliced bing cherries.) Or just go with the decadent and delightful buttercream frosting. Oh, and don't forget the candles!
Deluxe Devil’s Food Cake/Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter (softened)
1 t clear vanilla
¾ t almond extract
2 large eggs
2 ½ cups Pillsbury softasilk cake flour
1 cup dutch processed cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder (valrhona)
2 t baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups buttermilk
Heat oven to 350 F.
Place paper cupcake fillers in a pan (approx. 24-30).
Beat sugar, 1 cup butter, 1 t clear vanilla and ¾ teaspoon almond extract in a large bowl with electric mixed on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat eggs on at a time. Mix cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; beat into creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk on medium speed. Beat 1 minute longer. Pour into cupcake liners.
Bake 18 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely.
Makes approx. 24 – 28 cupcakes.
Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury - http://www.pillsburybaking.com/default.aspx
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
8 ounces unsalted butter (1 cup) cut into cubes, room temperature
2 pounds powdered sugar (8 cups)
½ cup milk (start with ¼ cup, add more until desired consistency)
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
6 oz. melted bittersweet chocolate, cooled
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and milk, alternately then add vanilla and salt. Mix on low speed until fluffy and smooth.
Melt chocolate until smooth. Cool. Add to the buttercream.